U.S. Stocks Close Slightly Higher Ahead Of Fed Policy

U.S. stocks closed slightly higher on Tuesday after a choppy session with investors largely staying cautious and refraining from making significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement.

The major averages all ended modestly higher despite staying quite sluggish for much of the day’s session.

The Dow ended with a gain of 67.29 points or 0.2 percent at 33,128.79 after moving between 32,914.75 and 33,341.58. The S&P 500 settled at 4,175.48, gaining 20.10 points or 0.48 percent, while the Nasdaq moved up 27.74 points or 0.22 percent to 12,563.76.

Some encouraging earnings updates and fairly strong economic data aided sentiment, ahead of the central bank’s policy announcement, due on Wednesday.

The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rate by 50 basis points, the sharpest rate hike in about 22 years. The accompanying statement is eyed for clues about how aggressively the central bank plans to tighten monetary policy.

On the economic front, new orders for U.S. manufactured goods spiked by more than expected in the month of March, according to a report released by the Commerce Department.

The report showed factory orders surged by 2.2 percent in March following a revised 0.1 percent uptick in February. Economists had expected factory orders to jump by 1.1 percent compared to the 0.5 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, data showed the number of job openings in the US rose by 205,000 from a month earlier to a series high of 11.549 million in March of 2022.

Boeing shares climbed nearly 3.5 percent. JP Morgan Chase, Verizon, Chevron, 3M and Goldman Sachs gained 1 to 2 percent.

Pfizer Inc shares gained about 2 percent after reporting first-quarter revenues of $25.7 billion, reflecting 82 percent operational growth.

Nike drifted down by about 2.5 percent. Visa, P&G and Microsoft also ended notably lower.

In overseas trading, Asian stocks ended Tuesday’s session mostly lower as investors braced for the Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday, with the central bank poised to announce its biggest rate hike since 2000. A 50 basis point rate hike along with balance sheet reduction plans are likely to be unveiled at the meeting in an effort to control inflation.

The major European markets closed higher, bouncing back on bargain hunting after sharp losses in the previous session. The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.53 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 0.22 percent, Germany’s DAX surged up 0.72 percent and France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.79 percent.

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